RSM International’s CEO, Jean Stephens, offers her reflections on the past year.

As another year comes to a close, and as many prepare for holiday celebrations or some time away from work over the New Year, we are offered an opportunity for reflection.

The pandemic has continued to disrupt societies, economies, communities and business operations around the world throughout both 2020 and 2021. In the second year of global disruption, we have all learnt about being calm in the face of adversity, having courage in the face of uncertainty and building fellowship in the face of isolation.

As new variants emerged, the need for flexibility remained high. In response, RSM’s global family has embraced digital platforms to allow us to continuously collaborate, innovate and strengthen our connections.

RSM has come out of this year wiser and stronger than ever, and I could not be prouder of what we have achieved through innovation, hard work and collaboration. There are many examples - from re-launching RSM Academy virtually and introducing the Women in Leadership Summit, to building communities such as the Brand and Marketing Forum and the Digital Visionaries. We also launched the Global Innovation Platform that allows colleagues from all over the globe to submit new ideas, encouraging more collaboration, innovation and positive change.

Our final community building event of the year saw our second virtual RSM World Conference take place, which was open to all RSM colleagues around the globe. The theme, Mission: Transform, reflected how the events of the past year have reshaped our markets, our profession and how the advancements of technology and the duality of human value and machines will lead us into a new business age. But importantly, as our diverse range of hosts and speakers discussed, the Conference also reflected the role of purpose in driving how we are collectively transforming the way we think and act in order to prepare us for the years ahead. It was a joy to see so many people from all over the world, connecting albeit virtually, despite many working from home.

We have also welcomed another Member Firm, RSM Turkey, into the ever-growing RSM community. RSM Turkey will play a critical role in supporting middle market businesses capitalise on the growth opportunities in Turkey and globally.

2021 also marked the 10th anniversary of RSM World Day on which this year’s theme was ‘Connected by our community’.

It is the strength of RSM’s global community and culture, which have laid the foundations of our success.

So, as we look to the future, the words of Robert F. Kennedy come to mind:

“It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility, and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.” 

While the impact of the pandemic has affected all of us, it has also been an instrument of common understanding; building a bridge and connecting us together at our most human level – the desire to not only survive, but to thrive.

Let’s celebrate our human connections and community spirit as we say goodbye to 2021 and look forward with hope and conviction to 2022.